The Four Seasons in Limassol, Cyprus has been open since 1993 and is independently owned and operated by Muskita Hotels Ltd. It’s a Five Star deluxe property with 304 rooms, 6 restaurants, 4 bars, and extensive conference facilities, Shiseido Spa, a full range of sports and fitness facilities and a shopping area with exclusive boutiques, watches and jewelry. The Hotel is situated on its own sandy beach, which has been awarded with the Blue Flag (a symbol of cleanliness and safety awarded by the European Community) and is 8 kilometers East of Limassol city center.
The Four Seasons’ management is constantly looking for effective ways to build strong relations with its customers and optimize sales programs. The Hotel’s website is its important marketing tool that helps the property to attract and retain elite guests from all over the World.
Mr. Nick Aristou, the property’s Executive Director, decided to enhance the website with an online business chat solution. “Our objective was to make it easy for our customers to navigate the website,” says Mr. Aristou. “Also, we wanted to convert as many visitors into customers as possible by making it easy for them to complete bookings.”
Mr. Aristou, who has a strong technology background, did a thorough review of available products, including such market leaders as LivePerson. However, none of them matched Four Season’s specific needs. The main limitations were the lack of multilingual support, patchy compatibility with tablet users and absence of robust archival features.
Then Mr. Aristou came across LiveWebAssist, a chat solution deployed on the IceWarp site, and realized it was the perfect match. He decided to try it out on the Four Season’s site, but then found out it was not the final release yet. Still, Mr. Aristou went ahead and launched LiveWebAssist at Four Seasons’ webpage, assigning three operators to interact with customers.
From the very beginning, the Four Season’s customer service team was making the most of LiveWebAssist’s multilingual interface and Knowledgebase support features to interact with customers in English, Greek and Russian.. The property’s sales and marketing team started to see LiveWebAssist’s effect almost immediately – the bookings increased.
“LiveWebAssist contributed a lot to this on many occasions,” says Mr. Aristou. “Our analysis showed that customers booked because they were given real-time explanations through the chat service.”
Four Season’s technology team also liked LiveWebAssist’s capability to recognize returning Website visitors.
“The excellent feature helps an operator to resume the conversation from the same spot where it was ended or interrupted,” says Mr. Aristou. “That makes users spend on average 7-8 minutes on the site, a very high indicator.”
In an approach radically different form other chat products, LiveWebAsisst supports the InLine no-flash chat architecture, eliminating pop-up windows. This design allows more visitors to initiate chat sessions, because they don’t have to deal with popup blockers and assures usability for visitors from tablets like iPad or Android.
Additionally, this option gives actionable information about the visitors’ behavior.
“The operators can tell exactly where the user is on the site, so they can offer them immediate assistance, tell them where to go and answer questions with a high degree of relevancy,” says Mr. Aristou. “It’s a very useful feature.”
LiveWebAssist’s analytical capabilities helped the hotel to optimize its Internet marketing strategy.
“LiveWebAssist analytics capabilities are very good,” notes Mr. Aristou. “They are helping us to locate sources our customers are coming from. It’s a very effective tool, especially when used in conjunction with Google analytics.”
Another feature Four Seasons’ team found practical is LiveWebAssist Knowledgebase. At any point of the conversation, it allows to insert pre-approved messages (such as terms and conditions, cancellation policy, etc.) as well as URLs and graphics with a single click.
“It has been very useful, we have almost three pages of knowledgebase content now,” notes Mr. Aristou. “The option provides more professional outlook and helps to standardize responses. Operators don’t have to think about how to phrase them. In the near future, we are planning to extend the knowledgebase with images and, possibly, videos.”
According to Four Seasons’ technology team estimates, the training and ramp-up process was painless.
“The functionality of the program is simple, anybody who can use a social chat program can get accustomed to LiveWebAssist very easily,” notes Mr. Aristou.
For the support function, Four Seasons team used LiveWebAssist Direct Chat Technology, the VIP connection that gives dedicated access to key IceWarp support personnel. This option makes it possible to reach the important contacts no matter where they are – at their desktop, off-site, or on the road.
“The VIP link option has been very useful, and IceWarp support team was very prompt,” says Mr. Aristou.
Four Seasons is now planning to expand LiveWebAssist functionality.
“We are considered using it on mobile devices, and, possibly, integrating the solution with a new CRM system,” says Mr. Aristou.
In the future, the property is thinking about hiring more operators and starting to use LiveWebAssist automated translation functionality.
According to Mr. Aristou’s estimates, LiveWebAssist was showing compelling ROI from the day it was implemented.
“Just from my own observation, from the number of bookings that have been converted directly through LiveWebAssist, I can say that it has paid for itself almost immediately” says Mr. Aristou he would definitely recommend LiveWebAssist to other organizations in the hospitality industry.
“Selling hotel rooms is always a complex matter,” says Mr. Aristou. “Usually, hotel bookings for five+ star hotels are a very high-value item. It’s not a $10-20 purchase from Amazon. They are usually $5,000-6,000 per transactionand there are many issues for potential customers to understand before they actually commit to book. Anything that can give a customer greater confidence and prompt him to make a decision to buy is very valuable. LiveWebAssist gives us exactly that.”
The Australian arm of Indian outsourcer Aegis will expand its Victorian operations with 550 new jobs.
"200 new jobs will be created next year, and an additional 350 jobs in 2016," Victorian Premier Denis Napthine said. "This expansion will see Aegis Services Australia, a global outsourcing and technology company, establish Victoria as its Asia-Pacific hub for business processing outsourcing."
Aegis Global CEO Sandip Sen said the venture marked a milestone for the company. "These are exciting times for Aegis Australia. We are investing a significant amount in up-skilling our operations to better deliver the high-end services our customers expect," Sen said. "Melbourne's language capability, high-quality educational institutions and diverse skill base provides Aegis with the confidence to be able to deliver the high-end services our clients expect."
Customer service IT company Avaya has been awarded the 2014 Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific Enterprise Networking Customer Value Enhancement Award.
The customer value enhancement award is given to a company which has enhanced customer value through its networking offerings and recorded revenue growth in its networking product line. Criteria include both the business impact achieved – including growth, customer acquisition, growth potential and operational efficiency – and customer impact, based on price performance value, and the customer experience across the entire process.
"Avaya successfully used fabric defined networking as the linchpin of business transformation in a highly competitive networking market," said Frost & Sullivan's Harsh Upadhyay. "Customers across APAC vouch that Avaya's solution is simple, easily deployable, and interoperable with legacy infrastructure."
Andrew Hume has joined Australian Business Process Outsourcing Provider Probe Group as CEO Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), to take responsibility for the continued growth of Probe's BPO business.
Mr Hume is excited about bringing his knowledge to bear help a great Australian company take on the Global giants.
"I love the 'David & Goliath' story. David beat the giant because he didn't follow the traditional rules of engagement. Experience has taught me that agility, passion and trust always lead to better outcomes," said Mr Hume.
"Australian businesses have complex needs and expect more than bland, 'one size fits all' Solutions," said Mr Hume, who believes there are too many cases where poor partnering decisions have led to mediocre outcomes.
"Probe is different-We have an adaptable model built with local expertise to suit Australian client and cultural requirements"
Probe has more than 35 years' experience in the industry and offers the benefits of both local and offshore infrastructure with centres in Australia and Manila.
"I'm a big believer in the magic that can happen when talented people who enjoy working together and whom share a vision are given the freedom to dream and deliver - amazing things happen," said Mr Hume, who has over 15 years in leadership roles in the BPO sector, including time as a CEO of Aegis, one of the largest global outsourcers and CEO of Salmat's outsourcing business.
Mr Hume said a common theme has emerged from his recent discussions with Australian businesses. "There is demand for fresh thinking and dynamic solutions from partners who can be trusted to deliver and innovate."
With almost 1,000 employees working for over 40 long term, blue chip corporate and government clients, Mr Hume describes Probe as the BPO industry's 'best secret'. "My mission is to amplify Probe's brand. If you are thinking BPO you need to be thinking Probe."